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World Cup of Hockey Roundup Day 4: Sweden, Canada clinch groups, but North America steals show

Sweden and Canada won their groups, but North America won the love of the hockey world

World Cup Of Hockey 2016 - Team North America v Sweden Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

North America 4, Sweden 3 (OT)

In what was undoubtedly the best game of the tournament, North America edged Sweden in overtime, but the Swedes clinched Group B with the loser point.

North America got off to an incredibly quick start, as Auston Matthews scored just thirty seconds into the game. It won’t be the last time the Toronto faithful cheer his name, and Matthews nearly blew the roof off of the Air Canada Centre.

1:05 later, Vincent Trocheck doubled the North Americans’ lead, finishing off a beautiful Shayne Gostisbehere pass that froze the Swedish defense. Johnny Gaudreau drew a penalty shot shortly after, but fired his shot high and wide.

North America continued to apply pressure, but Filip Forsberg was briefly able to stop the bleeding 6:49 later with a snapshot off of the rush to cut the lead to 2-1. Gaudreau would make up for his earlier miss, freezing Lundqvist with a beautiful forehand-backhand move. He put North America back up by two with just over six minutes left to play in the period. But Sweden was able to hang on, in large part thanks to Lundqvist. Nicklas Backstrom cut the lead to a goal with a power play tally.

After five goals in the first period, neither team would score in the second. North America dominated play in the second, controlling shots and possession. But Lundqvist showed why he’s the King, making 21 saves alone in the second period, including this stop on Nathan MacKinnon.

Lundqvist kept his team in the game, and his team would respond in the third period. Patrik Berglund tipped Erik Karlsson’s point shot past John Gibson and tied the game with 13:10 remaining in regulation. Sweden had a chance to win the game in regulation after a controversial holding call on Connor McDavid which, well, you be the judge.

The game remained tied at the end of regulation, and Sweden clinched Group B. But, given the quality of these two teams, they were destined to provide a quality overtime and they did not disappoint. Just 1:12 into OT, Henrik Lundqvist denied Connor McDavid on an incredible cross-crease save.

Then, not to be outdone, John Gibson made an incredible save of his own with just over a minute to go in overtime.

And finally, Nathan MacKinnon ended the game with this beautiful dangle in tight on Lundqvist, thanks to Johnny Gaudreau’s brilliant pass.

North America won, but they’ll need some help tomorrow in the Finland/Russia game. If Russia wins in any fashion, North America is eliminated, thanks to their 4-3 loss to Russia in their second game.

Do you have a GIF of former Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan that describes how awesome that game was?

Why yes, I do!

If you can catch a replay of that game, do everything in your power to make sure it happens.

Canada 4, Europe 1

The nightcap wasn’t nearly as close, as Canada dominated Europe en route to a 4-1 victory that clinched the top spot in Group A.

After failing to record a point against the United States, Sidney Crosby opened the scoring with sweet wraparound effort 4:01 into the game. Jonathan Toews doubled the Canadian lead, redirecting Matt Duchene’s shot from the half wall off of a Jaroslav Halak turnover 55 seconds prior to intermission.

Despite the turnover, Halak was the only reason the game was as close as it was, making 42 saves on the night in the opening frame. Thanks to Halak, Marian Hossa was able to cut the deficit in half with a bad-angle shot along the goal line 4:38 into the second period, but Europe was unable to turn the tide.

With just over five minutes left in the second period, Roman Josi broke his stick on a shot, which Logan Couture blocked. Couture fed the puck to Toews, who carried the puck into the offensive zone on a two-on-one odd man rush. Toews looked off Couture, and fired a shot underneath Halak’s glove to put Canada back up by two, and pretty much clinch the game.

Logan Couture ensured there was no doubt thanks to a late third period tally, giving Canada a 4-1 lead that would hold as the final score. The scoreline is a credit to Halak’s play, and not Europe’s, as his team was outshot 46-20, and outpossessed 61%-39% (CF%).

Sharks Watch

Mikkel Boedker (F, Europe)

Scratched in Europe’s 4-1 loss to Canada.

Logan Couture (F, Canada)

2 points (1 G, 1 A), 3 SOG, 16:19 TOI (fifth among Canadian forwards), 47.93 score-and-venue adjusted 5v5 CF%, 56.21 score-and-venue adjusted 5v5 FF% in 4-1 win over Europe.

Joe Thornton (F, Canada)

11:04 TOI, 50.00 score-and-venue adjusted 5v5 CF%, 51.54 score-and-venue adjusted 5v5 FF%.

Brent Burns (D, Canada)

19:18 TOI (third among Canadian defensemen), 54.92 score-and-venue adjusted 5v5 CF%, 55.29 score-and-venue adjusted 5v5 FF%.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic (D, Canada)

1 assist, 16:35 TOI, 54.46 score-and-venue adjusted 5v5 CF%, 54.63 score-and-venue adjusted 5v5 FF%.

Fear the Fin Three Stars

  1. Johnny Gaudreau (F, North America): 2 points (1 G, 1 A) in 4-3 OT win over Sweden.
  2. Jonathan Toews (F, Canada): 3 points (2 G, 1 A) in 4-1 win over Europe.
  3. Henrik Lundqvist (G, Sweden): 45 saves on 49 shots in 4-3 loss to North America.

What’s up next?

Joonas Donskoi and Finland look to spoil Russia’s semifinal hopes tomorrow at 12 PM PST on ESPN. Joe Pavelski and the United States look to avoid a winless group stage against the Czech Republic at 5 PM PST on ESPN2.